Sunday, February 22, 2009

Amplifying Advani Logic

December 10, 1992: L.K. Advani and Uma Bharati wave to kar sevaks outside Faizabad court. Photo courtesy: The Hindu

Law and order have two enemies: the Full Truth and the Complete Lie. When people realize the truth, they start revolutions. When they are fed lies they begin meaningless riots.

(M.J. Akbar, 1979)

A leader is one who leads by example and does not follow in the footsteps of his followers and disciples but Lal Krishna Advani, country's desperate Prime Minister-in-waiting, is an exceptional political entity. He used to lead by example in his infamous Rath Yatra days but the addictive taste of Delhi's political power has changed his state of mind. No wonder he is blindly advocating a theory propagated by a small fish in the dirty pond of India's communalism - the notorious Narendra Modi.

Modi had recently said, "Attacks like 26/11 couldn't have happened without local support...The UPA government is quiet on this aspect because of vote-bank politics." In other words, it simply means the attack could not have taken place without the active help of Indian Muslims. Modi's statement was much appreciated within the BJP and Sangh Parivar. Advani, whose eyesight is fixed on 7 Race Course Road (Prime Minister's residence), realised that it was time that he broke his dignified silence to please saffron souls lest they think Modi is their natural leader! It is in this context Advani raised the issue that local angle "could not be ruled out", and demanded a "thorough" judicial inquiry covering "this aspect of the conspiracy as well." Winston Churchill once said, "The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground." Had Advani kept his ears to the ground, he would have certainly broadened his approach but he didn't. A man who desperately wants to be India's next Prime Minister should have demanded a "thorough" judicial inquiry of Batla House encounter, Mecca Masjid, Samjhauta Express and Malegaon blasts etc. That would have made him a man of all seasons but alas he is a man of saffron reason! If Advani's eyes are on the 7 Race Course Road, his ears are paying attention across the border. He is desperately seeking votes in Pakistan! The ad featuring on many Pakistani websites reads, 'It's possible, Advani for Prime Minister.' Does Advani want to become Prime Minister of Pakistan? Advani's adventurous ambition will bring much needed relief to Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's current Prime Minister! For a change we must give Advani benefit of doubt. If his "local angle" concern is indeed genuine, let's try to apply this logic in totality. What would be the reaction of government and politicians if any political leader of Malegaon tries to raise the "local angle" involvement in September 29 2008 blast? What if he repeats the exact words of L.K. Advani only replacing 26/11 with Malegaon blast? He would be immediately branded as a "communalist", an "anti-national." The police department will sing a song of law and order problem. It is quite possible that he would be booked under some sections of Indian Penal Code for making provocative statement of the communal nature. This classic Indian duplicity is not a gift of British Raj but it's a product of hate-preachers who still see Indian Muslims as "outsiders" and "invaders." This tendency emanates from none other than the right-wing ideologue Golwalkar who put it quite bluntly,
"Ever since the evil day, when Muslims just landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu nation has been gallantly fighting on to shake off the despoilers."
It is a different matter that this kind of rabid rhetoric has been replaced by soft Hindutva because in an era of coalition politics, BJP can not form government on its own. Adopting the same kind of language will cut short Advani's Prime Ministerial dream. The duplicity and hypocrisy of L.K. Advani is nothing new. He has been accused of a criminal conspiracy to demolish Babri Masjid. Advani first blamed Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, next, acclaimed the event as a historic one. In front of the Liberhan Commission, he has repeatedly said that December 6, 1992 was the saddest day of his life although Advani had said in Ayodhya that,
"Aaj (December 6) kar seva ka akhriri din hai, kar sevak aaj akhiri kar seva karenge." (It is the final day for the kar seva today, The kar sevaks will be doing the final kar seva today).
When the demolition of the mosque was in progress, he also told that the Central forces were moving from Faizabad towards Ayodhya, but they were not afraid of it and instructed the public to block the national highway straightway so that forces do not reach Ram Janam Bhoomi. This was reported by Indian Express and later documentated by noted lawyer and commentator A.G. Noorani. Jaswant Singh said that the demolition should not have happened in the sense that BJP was one of the participants and BJP has direct responsibility. Ashok Singhal was more blunt. He told a gathering in London that
"Kar sevaks had removed a stigma attached to the Hindu community. This was a matter of pride for Hindus the world over. It was like Hanuman setting fire to Lanka."
A.G. Noorani has beautifully described BJP's confession and denial thus,
"The BJP wants to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. It simultaneously acknowledges as well as denies its involvement in the crime."
Advani's autobiography (My Country, My Life) is full of lies and contradictions and there is ample evidence of his "Muslim phobia" in it. It is an attempt to portray Advani as a "nationalist" leader and pave way for his Prime Ministerial dream. Perhaps that last word must be left to Noorani:
"If Advani succeeds in fulfilling his 20-year old ambition, this book will rank as the Fuhrer's Mein Kampf. If he is defeated in 2009, it will be remembered for ever as the swansong of a man who wanted to be Prime Minister of India too badly."
Sunday Inquilab, February 22, 2009

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Rise of the Hindu Right

Sadhvi Rithambara: Muslims are like a lemon squirted into the cream of India

At what point in history did the word ‘Sadhvi’ enter the Muslim lexicon? Did the word ‘Sadhvi’ enter the Muslim psyche with the arrest of Pragya Singh Thakur, Malegaon bomb blast accused? The answer is a firm no. Pragya Singh Thakur is merely an offshoot; continuation of a contagious disease called communalism planted into the body politic of India with the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. The legacy of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur can be traced back to the Sadhvi Rithambara who had famously said, “Ek dhakka aur do, Babri Masjid tor do” [Give one more push, bring down Babri Masjid].

We do not have any proof to suggest that Sadhvi Pragya is a descendent of Sadhvi Rithambara but they share a common ideology of hatred against Muslims with varying degrees of execution. The former believes in the physical virus of violence while the latter believes in the verbal virus of violence. Sadhvi Rithambara is more dangerous than Sadhvi Pragya because her methodology is to cultivate hate within the confines of law of the land. She is a hate-monger in the disguise of a woman preacher who had once said,

“Muslims are like a lemon squirted into the cream of India. They turn it sour. We have to remove the lemon, cut it up into little pieces, squeeze out the pips and throw them away.”

This poisonous potion of hate sums up the ideology of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal, the Shiv Sena, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and all the associated organisations of right-wing political family, loosely referred as the Sangh Parivar.

The BJP was born from the womb of Sangh Praivar and therefore a legitimate child of the Hindutva brigade. When the BJP came to power at Centre in 1999, there was a palpable sense of jubilation in the Parivar camp. For it was the time to ‘right’ a “historical wrong”; to construct Ram Temple in Ayodhya. To capitalize on Hindu sentiments Sadhvi Rithambara was touring America in 2002. She was at the Ganesh Temple in New York to raise funds for her new project – homes and shelters for Hindu orphans and widows.

She delivered a fiery speech peppered with poison. She said, “The efforts to build a temple for Lord Ram at the Babri Masjid site had given Indians a sense of pride… People questioned the Ram Janam Bhoomi movement but I told them if the youth of India stood up for the cause, even Muslims will start to say Long Live Lord Ram [Yahan to meeyan log bhi bolenge, Jai Shree Ram].”

What a project for Hindu orphans and widows has got to do with Ram Janam Bhoomi?

A comparatively calm and docile South India has begun to understand and include words like ‘terrorism’, ‘communalism’ and ‘hate’ in its day today vocabulary. That brings us to an interesting metaphor: When there is any trouble in the body, it is the whole body that feels the pain. Pramod Mutalik symbolizes and shares the pain of Sadhvi Pragya. Mutalik may have become a Muslim household name with his provocative statement, “Malegaon is a Jhalak. More is possible if every woman picks up bombs”, but he was in the news much before Sadhvi Pragya. In the second half of 2008, the same Mutalik, a vendor of anarchy, had said in a press conference held in Bangalore press club that Hindu suicide squads are ready “to take on Islamic terrorists.”

This news item remained on the fringe and nobody bothered to pick it up since Mutalik posed a threat only to the Indian Muslims. He became a despicable object only when his men attacked ‘Hindu’ women in a pub in Mangalore.

Sadhvi Rithambara, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Pramod Mutalik once belonged to BJP whose unofficial doctrine is based on the hate culture. It is altogether a different matter that when the hate crosses the permissible limit, BJP tries to distance itself from its ardent supporters.

Kalyan Singh, once the poster boy of BJP, has suddenly become an imposter for the BJP. Kalyan Singh is the same politician whose right-wing ability to check on Yadavs was once a prized possession of the BJP. Mulayam Singh’s new-found love with Kalyan Singh is a well-planned political strategy to kill two-birds with one arrow. Mulayam Singh may have a mulayam corner for Kalyan Singh but Muslims will not become victims of his velvet-politics. It was under the watchful eyes of Kalyan Singh that Babri Masjid was demolished. The then UP Governor Satyanarayan Reddy had written a letter to the then PM Narsimha Rao on December 1, 1992 urging that the “general law and order situation, especially on the communal front, is satisfactory.” Both BJP-ruled UP and Congress-ruled Centre slept over this suggestion.

Kalyan Singh was guilty of connivance while Narsimha Rao was guilty of inaction; he preferred to sleep that fateful afternoon when Babri Masjid was being brought down. A question worth-asking: Is there any difference between an open enemy and unfaithful friend?

If right-wing politics of BJP demolished Babri Masjid, the middle path politics of Congress gave us the world’s longest running Liberhan commission. The commission would hopefully file the report by March end. Muslims will not give an award to Justice Liberhan for revealing the name of the culprits because they already know the names!

India is taking a right-wing turn once again. Sadhvi Rithambara, Sadhvi Pragya, Pramod Mutalik Kalyan Singh and Narendra Modi are the L.K. Advanis of the decade hell-bent on pressing the Hitler nerve.

Can India be saved from indignant Indians?

Sunday Inquilab, February 8, 2009